Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - Cambodia-China Academic Relations

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Mahogany, First Floor

This paper examines how the Cambodians view China’s growing support for their higher education system. It follows a qualitative case study design, with interviews and document reviews as primary methods of data collection. It adopts three theoretical lenses: Nye’s (2004) soft power, Hayhoe’s (2001) historical and cultural approach and Held’s cosmopolitan concept of mutuality. Preliminary findings show that drawing on strong historical and cultural ties between the two countries, China’s support program for Cambodia has achieved some degrees of mutuality, with many respondents holding positive views about China’s emergence as an international educational donor. Key to their collaboration is China’s emphasis on the local needs and ownership of the programs. On the one hand, as an emerging donor, China should establish a national development agency which mandate is to manage and coordinate the country’s international educational activities. On the other, Cambodia needs to adopt a more strategic approach to internationalize its higher education system in order to reach high standards, regional competitivity, and social and development benefits for the country.

Phirom Leng

Cambodia Development Research Institute, Cambodia

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